Yes, I will preface this post with a straight forward statement–I’m a hypocrite. I indulge completely in the thing that I, to be honest, rather dislike on some level.
I’ll start by coming straight out and addressing what it is I’m talking about–quick, easy, and completely open self-publishing. Why am I a hypocrite? Because as much as I dislike it, I’m so extremely thankful for it.
Now, before you all jump on the “I hate this chick” bandwagon, let me explain.
I study literature–Spanish literature to be exact. The culture that brought us (arguably) the first novel. Don Quixote de la Mancha is potentially my favorite book ever. It’s a wonderful satire that includes commentary on not only the time period in which it was produced, but quite simply the human condition in general. It has stories of love, valor, epic battles, and what could be considered one of the most true, pure, and absolutely amazing friendships of all time. It’s a comedy and a tragedy; it’s a romance novel and a adventure novel all wrapped up into one. It’s pure literary genius (and I’m just scratching the surface here).
I hold literature and writing in very high esteem. Great stories will live on for generations to come. Think Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, for example, from our recent time. These are the books that will be remembered and cherished for a very long time.
But, at the same time, we are living in a generation where anyone and everyone with a computer can write, publish, and send their work out into the world for anyone to see.
Is this a bad thing? It depends on how you look at it. As a result of the self-publication craze that’s happening right now, publication houses will start to lose business. I know, I know, “screw them, they’re too picky/harsh/critical anyways.” J.K. Rowling had her first book rejected by said “all-mighty” publishing houses at least a dozen times before someone recognized the genius of what she had created.
But still, that filter that stood between the public and the completely overwhelming influx of literature will slowly fade off the scene. And then what are we left with? How will we find the diamond in the ruff when there are quite literally endless amount of books being published every single day?
Like I said, don’t get me wrong, I love the self-pubication world. I have long dreamed of being a writer, and now I can live my dream. It’s great; it’s wonderful. And, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity it’s opened up to me.
But still, deep down in my heart, I worry. I worry about how we will find the voice of our generation. Who will give the social commentary that narrates the reality of what it is to live in our time? Perhaps now, it still seems like a distant concern. But, within 10 years? 20 years? What will our literature look like?